Perhaps everyone spoke too soon. The Patriots proved they could utilize four tight ends and a fullback in their offense Sunday night in the Patriots’ 41-16 win over the Denver Broncos. And maybe Allen did enough in the win to prove he continues to deserve a spot on the team.
Allen finally caught a pass after 10 long weeks, and he made it count, with an 11-yard touchdown reception.
“It felt great to contribute in a different way to a team win,” Allen said Sunday. “It’s amazing, man. Everyone, offense, defense, especially special teams just played their tails off tonight.”
Allen hadn’t caught a pass on six targets through eight games. He hadn’t been targeted prior to Sunday night since Week 4. He also delivered a key block on running back Dion Lewis’ 103-yard kick return touchdown and chipped in to help the Patriots’ offensive line neutralize the Broncos’ front seven.
“I hope it’s a lesson for a lot of young guys, honestly,” Allen said. “I came into this league wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and thought everything was going to be given to me. You come here to a winning football club and you learn that it takes self-sacrifice. You have to give up yourself for the benefit of the team. That’s what it’s all about. Sometimes, you’re awarded a touchdown.”
Allen was targeted in the end zone prior to his touchdown, but Broncos safety Will Parks swatted the ball away.
“I felt like the ball was beating me up or me beating the ball up. I wasn’t catching it,” Allen said. “It felt amazing. It felt amazing to get that monkey off my back and start heading into a positive direction. It’s all about consistency.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick certainly didn’t place all the blame on Allen for his early-season struggles.
“Unfortunately we’ve missed him a few times when he’s been wide open for some big plays,” Belichick said. “That was a tough catch and a big catch. I think that kind of speaks to the whole team tonight. Different guys came through in different situations, stepped up and made plays when we needed plays and we got contributions from a lot of different people. That’s what a team is. Everyone contributes and we had a lot of that tonight.”
Tight end Rob Gronkowski caught four passes on seven targets for 74 yards while Bennett had three catches on three targets for 38 yards. Fullback James Develin caught two passes for 16 yards and rookie tight end Jacob Hollister recovered a fumble on special teams.
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